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How Nurse Burnout Affects Hospital-Acquired Infections

How Nurse Burnout Affects Hospital-Acquired Infections

Previous research has linked invasive devices and clinical practice to hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). There is now evidence suggesting that elements of nursing care are also linked to the prevalence of HAIs. Few studies have rigorously examined the possible underlying mechanisms of the relationship between nurse staffing and HAIs. In the American Journal of Infection Control, my colleagues and I had a study published that assessed job-related burnout among registered nurses to determine its accountability for the relationship between nurse staffing and infections acquired during hospital stays. Burnout Affects Infection Rate Our findings show that job-related burnout among nurses appears to be a plausible explanation for some HAIs. Nurses had an average total of 17 years experience, caring for an average of about six patients. Almost 37% reported high levels of burnout. At the hospitals involved in the study, 16 of 1,000 patients acquired some type of infection, particularly urinary tract infections (UTIs), surgical site infections (SSIs), and gastrointestinal infections, as well as pneumonia. For modeling and further analysis, we limited the types of infection to UTIs and SSIs. As patient loads escalated, the number of UTIs and SSIs increased significantly. In additional modeling, nurse burnout was highly associated with these infections, a finding that hasn’t been reported in previous research. A 10% increase in a hospital’s composition of high-burnout nurses was linked to an increase of nearly one UTI and two SSIs per 1,000 patients. Perhaps the most important finding from our model was that reducing nurse burnout by 30% could prevent more than 4,000 UTIs and more than 2,200 SSIs each year and save up to $69 million...
Diabetes Side Effects: Breaking the Silence

Diabetes Side Effects: Breaking the Silence

Sexual and urologic complications among men and women with diabetes have historically received relatively little attention from clinicians. Diabetes impacts the function and structure of the lower urinary tract, including the bladder and prostate. Studies suggest that urologic complications resulting from diabetes may be even more common than that of widely recognized microvascular complications, such as retinopathy, neuropathy, or nephropathy. “Diabetes can lead to different types of sexual and urologic complications in both men and women,” says Jeanette S. Brown, MD (Table 1). “These include urinary incontinence (UI), poor bladder emptying, sexual dysfunction, lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS), and urinary tract infections (UTIs). Treatment options are available for many of these sexual and urologic complications. Unfortunately, these problems often go unaddressed because patients oftentimes will not discuss these issues with their clinicians.” Caring for Women: Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms Urinary incontinence has been estimated to be more common in women with type 2 diabetes than in women with normal glucose levels (Table 2). There is also evidence that women with pre-diabetes are at higher risk for incontinence. The clinical diagnosis of UI—and more broadly, LUTS—is typically based on a variety of factors, and Dr. Brown says that clinicians can be proactive by paying attention to patient complaints when they arise. “It can often be difficult for women to speak up when they develop issues like UI, LUTS, or UTIs, but we should be asking them about these symptoms regularly during office visits,” Dr. Brown says. “When symptoms are identified, we can then take that opportunity to educate patients about the possible treatment options that are available to manage these...

Nurse Staffing, Burnout, & Infections

The presence of urinary tract infections and surgical site infections appears to be significantly associated with patient-to-nurse ratios, according to a study from Rutgers University. Hospitals that reduced burnout by 30% had 6,239 fewer infections per year, amounting to potential savings of nearly $68 million annually. Abstract: American Journal of Infection Control, August...
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